Woody Head – A Northern Rivers Natural Wonder - On borrowed time, going, going ... gone ?
Erosion is posing an ever bigger threat to numerous beachfront campsites and caravan parks along Australia’s magnificent coastline. In recent years, huge waves and strong currents have caused massive changes to many, many areas and it’s far from just an issue in our towns. Woody Head in Bundjalung National Park is one of the fastest-eroding beaches in New South Wales … and is retreating at about two metres every year.
Artificial dunes have slowed erosion considerably along part of the beach. Around 5000 cubic-metres of sand, has been ploughed into an artificial dune on the shorefront at Woody Head to stop the damaging effects of coastal erosion. The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the Roads and Traffic Authority undertook a two week, $200,000 project to construct a beachfront dune that measures about 100metres long. The massive dune barrier has been built directly in front of the Woody Head Camping Reserve and has been planted out with native trees and plants. It is reported that the man-made dune was the most effective method of protecting the rapidly-disappearing coastline and camping infrastructure at Woody Head from an eroding longshore current.
It is estimated that the magnificent Woody Head campground will almost certainly be gone by 2025.
Woody Head is a campground with the lot - you can pitch your tent, park your caravan or book a cabin to enjoy a pleasure packed beach escape for the weekend or longer. It's a great place for a family holiday. There are heaps of things to do and children and adults alike will love exploring the rainforest, shallow reefs and rock platforms around the campground. There's also a boat ramp for those who bring their boat along, great places for fishing and water babies will love being so close to the beach. There is one designated group camping area and the campground is wheelchair accessible. Woody Head is a hugely popular north coast campground and you'll need to book with plenty of time to secure your campsite.
The Hammond family were the pioneers of Woody Head and of the 3 sons, Charlie, Bert and Bill (all commercial fishers). Their original family house (hut) has been restored ( Hammond Cottage) and offers accommodation to holiday makers. If you’d been fortunate enough to have known Charlie and Bert particularly, you might have seen one of their little trawlers (“Woody H” or “Endeavour”) moored in the bay adjacent to what is now the boat launching area.
What you may not know is that at the top of the boat ramp there is a small green shed, the purpose of which is unknown to most. The shed housed a ’29 Chevy engine that was hooked up to a windlass and in times of heavy seas wooden ladders were placed on the beach and into the surf, along which the trawler would be hauled to eliminate the danger posed by big seas. When this happened, it was literally all hands on deck, as wooden rollers were attached to the vessel to steady it as it was retrieved from the water. The beach where this happened is long gone and where it was is now eroded to the rock at the right of the boat ramp. Those days, when they launched their boats to head out for snapper, they parked their vehicles on the beach above the high tide mark. Nowadays you can’t even get to the beach. Keep in mind, however that the beach at that time was a straight beach to Shark Bay Rocks.
So when you drive into Woody Head campground, you will feel that you have arrived somewhere really special and unfortunately, future generations will definitely not be enjoying this which is such a pity because there's so very much to enjoy at this Northern Rivers Natural Wonder.